Addiction is not a character flaw and it most definitely is not a choice.
Addiction is a biopsychosocial phenomenon that results in negative consequences and feelings of shame and guilt. Biological, psychological, and social factors culminate into a dependent relationship to a substance or compulsive behavior as a means of coping with distressing emotional, psychological, and environmental states.
More specifically, addiction is characterized by several criteria:
- the inability to resist an urge to consume a substance or engage in a behavior that is harmful
- an increase in tension or arousal before the act, followed by gratification and relief
- a noticeable increase in amount and frequency of the act in order to achieve the desired effect (e.g. pleasure or escape)
- over-investment of resources, such as time and money, to engage in the act
This website offers information about addiction, drugs, and compulsive behaviors, including the latest news and research. Resources for people with an addiction and their loved ones can also be found here.